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Bad GirlsYoung Women, Sex, and Rebellion before the Sixties$
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Amanda H. Littauer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469623788

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469623788.001.0001

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Feminist Sexual Futures

Feminist Sexual Futures

(p.174) Conclusion Feminist Sexual Futures
Bad Girls

Amanda H. Littauer

University of North Carolina Press

This concluding chapter argues that the 1940s and 1950s gave rise to two alternative norms, both of which have exerted powerful historical influence in distinct ways. The first is relationship-oriented sexual ethics, or the belief that sexual activity is socially and culturally valid when it enables the members of a monogamous couple to express love and affection for one another. The second is individual sexual autonomy, understood to mean that individuals have the right to sexual self-expression and that sexuality need not be tethered either to interpersonal relationships or to state institutions. Each of these ethical standards had different implications for women than it did for men, and both of them stemmed from the actions of straight and queer women and girls. The chapter also describes how women continue to resist oppressive social forces that limit sexual autonomy in twenty-first century.

Keywords:   1940s, 1950s, relationship-oriented sexual ethics, sexual activity, individual sexual autonomy, sexual self-expression, interpersonal relationships

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